Wednesday, January 02, 2008


THE YEAR THAT WAS:
THE BEST ANARCHIST SITES OF 2007:

Despite its small size the anarchist movement continued to expand in 2007, and nowhere was this more apparent than on the internet where anarchists have gleefully seized the possibilities that the medium offers. What follows are Molly's admittedly biased picks for the Top Ten anarchist sites of 2007. Picked for a number of reasons, of which public attractiveness (hence no crazies), usefulness, diligence and attractiveness were the main criteria, Molly's choices might be argued with, but they were what she found best in the year that was. So, on to the show....



10: Leading out at spot number 10 is the new La Commune-Montreal blog, up and about since September and already with over 8500 hits. This francophone blog is "La Blogue d'information Politique de l'Union Locale'" of NEFAC in Montreal. This "BIP" is, of course, written from a platformist perspective, but the subjects covered are far ranging. despite having less than a dozen contributors the spot remains timely and up-to-date, unlike many sites that are founded in a flurry of enthusiasm and rapidly peter out. As per many of the new breed of anarchist sites La Commune also enables you to download pdf copies of their print magazine, Cause Commune. A good selection of links as well.



9: Following close on the heels of this newbie is what may be the grandmother of all such sites. These good people, from Brighton, England began their weekly(more or less) newsletter many years ago in the "age of print", and now they are on issue # 614. Schnews has never pretended to be either an organization building organ nor anything more than what it is- the newsletter of a local anarchist group that focuses on their neighbourhood but will often carry news and comment from the wider world. But they do a wonderful job at what they do. The print form of their publication is also available at the site in pdf format for those who might want to distribute it elsewhere. An extensive list of links, in many categories, including film downloads. A site well worth imitating for those who might like to start their own local anarchist site/publication. Also the grand prize winner in the category of "persistence".



8: Persistent in another way is winner # 8, the Spanish language site, El Libertario, from Venezuela. This is the online presence of the magazine of the same name, and it works under extremely difficult conditions, published as it is in a country governed by a demagogue who has his own ideas of "revolution". The Venezuelan comrades have to steer their boat in a sea made up of the followers of this pseudo-socialism and a perhaps more repellent right wing influence, both domestic and foreign. Not that the comrades of El Libertario have always been right, but they have held up the fact that anarchism is not just a more disorganized form of leftism to public view. El Libertario has an extensive list of links in Spanish and a small section of news in English. Also a library of texts en Espanol.


7: Then there is yet another form of persistence. The main site of the IWW, the Industrial Workers of the World, is the online presence of the oldest existing revolutionary syndicalist organization in the world, one over 100 years young, having been formed in 1905. Through thick and thin the IWW has survived, if not always prospered, and in recent years it has experienced remarkable growth as a new generation of anarchists has entered it in search of a practical outlet for their idealism. A hugely varied site- events, forums, blogs, a pdf of the Industrial Worker, their print organ, graphics and much more. Breaking news of syndicalism in the USA, Canada, Britain, Australia, Germany and other places. Catch up on the new generation of workers' organization here.


6: Speaking of syndicalism, another Spanish language site, that of the Spanish CGT, also comes in on this list at number 6. This is the official site of the world's largest present day anarcho-syndicalist organization, the Confederacion General de Trabajo of Spain. Contains an extensive guide to their organization, now the third largest union federation in Spain, an extensive listing of texts (in Spanish), including many unavailable elsewhere, and even a musical section where you can listen to Spanish anarchist songs. Their newspaper Royo y Negro is available here in pdf format.


5: Also on the syndicalist beat we shouldn't forget the winners of place # 5, the French CNT and their website. There are actually two CNTs (Confedration Nationale be Travaille) in France, but this site is that of the non-AIT group often known as the CNT-Vignoles from the street on which their main office is located. They are the much larger and more active group, actually functioning as an union rather than a propaganda group. Since its gradual fade-away following the World Wars, French anarchism has lacked a syndicalist presence, even though the original CGT was the founder of the revolutionary syndicalist way of organizing. In recent years the CNT has brought this tradition back, and it is one of the most dynamic anarcho-syndicalist groups in existence today. The site is in French, but there is a limited translation capacity for English and Spanish. Make sure to sign up for their e-newsletter.


4: The fourth place in this list goes to the Anarkismo site. Sorta the "party organ" of international platformism, it is spectacularly multilingual, though the base language is English. Source of many of the best theoretical articles from the platformist current, as well as a good newsfeed. Contains feeds from other libertarian publications in the "social anarchist" sector, as well as lists of anarcho-communist events. Lacking links and an organized library, this site is still very much worth visiting as the entry point to international platformism.


3: But for sheer timeliness and productivity few sites can beat Le Revue Gauche, produced by Eugene Plawiuk in Edmonton. Almost every day without fail since December 2004 LRG has kicked out news, both local, provincial, national and international as well as commentary from a combative but wryly humorous standpoint. Often voted "the best blog" in many online polls, LRG draws an incredibly large audience, having seen 224,058 unique vistors in 2007. It's doubtful if there is any other anarchist site in the world that has done so much to present the ideas to a wider public. Also an incredibly rich site in terms of its links and syndications. A joy to explore.


2: Number 2 on this list is the venerable A-Infos, the oldest of the anarchist newsgroups. Lacking all the bells and whistles, A-Infos does its job of being the most comprehensive source of anarchist news on the international scene. No graphics, no fancy sidebars; sorta an anarchist Dragnet-"just the facts m'am". Resolutely social anarchist and excluding the various nutbars that populate the world of "fashion anarchism" it still has few axes to grind and presents the decent side of the movement in all its diversity. The best place to check up on the daily anarchist news.



AND NOW...NUMBER ONE ON MOLLYMEW'S LIST OF HER FAVOURITE ANARCHIST SITES OF 2007:
THE CROWD IS HUSHED. THE WINNER IS
LIBCOM. !!!!!!!!!!!!
LibCom, the anarchocommunist site produced out of Britain may not be the easiest site to navigate, but the visitor will be well rewarded for the effort. Its newsfeed function is "class struggle" in orientation, and it ventures into ground that is too often ignored by more ideologically "pure" anarchist sites. Its international coverage is excellent, and you'll find news here that is unavailable anywhere else. The stories are also much easier to "track-back" than on some other sites. The library function of the site contains a wealth of history, biography, texts, theory and much more that makes this the equal, and in some ways the superior, of sites devoted only to such things such as the Anarchist Archives. You want organizing manuals ? They have them. If you visit there be sure to check out the forums section. Besides giving living proof that anarchists are not the rhetoric spouting robots that some more juvenile offerings give the impression of, the forums can often be belly laugh funny. A rare event in any political site.


That's it for now. Let's see what 2008 brings.

5 comments:

Nicolas said...

Next year, be sure to check Voix de faits. It's the Collectif anarchiste La Nuit (NEFAC-Quebec) blog. If you like La Commune, you should like that one too.

Larry Gambone said...

Good show Molly! Perhaps I wouldn't put them in that order, but it is one fine list...

Mollymew said...

Hi Nicolas and Larry,
I'll be adding Voix de faits to the Links section tonight, under the Platformist section (unless you think it should go under the more general 'Links' section- I'll defer to your opinion). I liked their own summary of their efforts in 2007. Sometime in this New Year, as per Molly's ny resolution, she'll be making some revisions to her Links section. One of these will be 'Baron Mollydi's House of the Living Dead' where links that haven't been active for some time will be gradually moved. Another, however, will be new sections for French and Spanish language links. Any suggestions for the first item ?
Larry, glad you liked the list. It seems to have stimulated a lot of discussion on LibCom. The whole point I guess is that NOBODY would have exactly the same list. I see gripes over at LibCom about the inclusion of the IWW, the Spanish CGT and even the CNT-f. I'm sure that you could quibble with the inclusion of El Libertario. What surprised me at first is that nobody jumped on my inclusion of Schnews, one of my old favourites.The "order", well who knows. The list of "runners-up" was much longer than the 10 items listed. My FIRST criteria for chosing was "public presentation". I quite deliberately excluded sites that I would personally be embarrased to be associated with in speaking to ordinary people about. I can't say that the majority of them are not "anarchist", but I CAN say that they are assholes, creeps, nuts, fools,crooks and thugs (and a few dozen other insults). I may have given too much weight to "persistance" in my judgements, but THIS is one important virtue that is too often lacking amongst anarchists, and it deserves to be recognized. The list was heavily weighted towards platformism and anarcho-syndicalism because I thought that "practicality" was another virtue that deserved recognition. The same thought guided my choice to not put some very fine sites on the list while concentrating a lot on "news feeds". I'll probably post a longer list of the runners-up soon, of which there were a few more theoretical sites.
I also quite deliberately weighted the list to those sites desreving of "imitation", though one has to admit that A-Infos cannot (and should not) be immitated- merely expanded. The list concentrated on "social anarchists" (the opposite of which is "anti-social anarchists"- a good description for some). THAT is my own opinion of what is useful and valuable in actually making anarchism a more powerful force in our present world. Not that there aren't MANY say "individualist" sites or sites that are purely "cultural" that areen't valuable, perhaps more so than the "organizational" sites that I favoured to some people, but I subordinated pure aestethics to practicality in making the list.

What I perhaps found most amazing is that nobody to my knowledge has done this before. At the time of year when everybody and his dog is making "lists", why don't anarchists do the same ? Seemed pretty obvious to me in the depths of New Years' Day.

Nicolas said...

Thanks for the link (just added you on our blogroll btw). Voix de faits really is a blog, so I guess this is where it belong (altough it is, indeed, a 'platformist' blog). This said, I dont really care...

There's a hell of a lot of french website. My favorite is Alternative libertaire. Better then the CNT-f web site, actualy (less specific, more generaly social). They have a good link section.

There are other good website. Three that I like a lot are (an anarchist daily, with obvious individualist leaning but strong social roots too), Le Jura Libertaire (because it cover the whole francophone anarchist movement and not just France) and (dont really know why, maybe because it's an inspiration as an anarchist news source not located in it's country metropolis?).

Solid


Nicolas


(Emile-Henry website is still online but the group is dead btw (since 2001 actualy). La Nuit is the official heir)

eugene plawiuk said...

Aw shucks I feel honoured, you like me you really like me...lol